Sorry Bill Gates. But, based on some recently released new research from AT&T about the usage of print directories, the print Yellow Pages are far from dead.
M/A/R/C Research interviewed more than 50,000 consumers across the country in 2010 and found:
- 69% say they have used the AT&T Real Yellow Pages within the last year.
- Use of AT&T’s premier online local search directory–YP.com—continues to grow. The survey results show 29% of adults in
the survey use YP.com, up 17% from just a year earlier.
- When combining both print and YP.com, 78% of those surveyed said they used at least one of the products within the past year compared to 77% a year earlier.
M/A/R/C Research has 46 years of marketing research experience so I’m not sure that paper atheists can claim (even if they will try) that the study data was fixed as it was validated by credible, third-party research. In case some are concerned, the company interviewed more than 50,000 consumers at least 18 years old between January and December 2010 in 125 major markets (obviously within AT&T’s service areas) using statistically valid surveys meeting Advertising Research Foundation guidelines.
But that’s not all, as the AT&T release also refers to a CRM Associates’ just-released 2010 Metered Ad Study of 14,600 advertisers with the same-size ad and heading in 2009 and 2010. This effort noted that calls increased from 5.7 million calls to 6.3 million – or a 10% increase across the entire set of ads. This increase follows a 3% increase in calls in 2009 compared to 2008. Sixty percent of individual advertisers experienced an increase in calls in 2010. And no one wants or uses these books anymore??
The conclusion that print Yellow Pages are still a valuable tool for advertisers and consumers is one which will likely startle internet insiders/purists and opt-in proponents. Even industry analyst Greg Sterling notes on his blog, that the print numbers were much healthier than many believe.
I’m not so sure the results surprised industry insiders as much. As Ken Ray, chief marketing officer of AT&T Advertising Solutions commented in the release “these findings confirm the continued relevancy of print directories, and especially AT&T’s directories,”. He continued, “…we are definitely seeing a transition in local search from print to multimedia sources. But print remains one of the most effective and foundational elements of that multimedia mix.”
A third confirming piece of research was also mentioned by Ray, covering more than 20,000 unique metered phone numbers (where the number only appears in print ads) which generated an average of 18 calls per month to a diverse, wide range of advertisers. Those print Yellow Pages ads with unique URLs which allow tracking are also averaging a half dozen online look ups each month. So clearly, consumers are using print and Internet sources together.
Print Yellow Pages are not dead yet, and will not be for a very long time. They remain the most effective directional media available in what should be a multimedia advertising mix for small and midsized businesses.